Is there a need for a distributor?

Sorry for the delay in sharing my experience coming up with this DIY – I’ve been too busy resting and enjoying myself after a mad dash the past 5 mths :)

So, I want to share my take on – Is there a need to get a distributor for your DIY?

I remember thinking to myself I need a distributor after the master cd was out, mainly to help distribute my cds to various stores, and even harboured the vanity thought – “My cd will look better if it has a “distributed by “(fill-in big-brand-name-here)” sticker on the cover. Maybe more people will pay attention to it?

I agree, actually, it almost seems like a chop of guarantee when you manage to secure a deal with a well-known distributor, and one should go for it and have a try. But is there a real need? I did try to source for a distributor, actually, I stupidly sent copies of master cd to the various distributors – one at a time. On hindsight, it was not a good time to be “faithful” because each one of them dragged me for what seemed ages (at least 2 weeks each). Ranging from replies like “Sorry but we have other big names coming up end of the year, so we won’t be able to distribute your album” to “I’m sorry but we’re prefer if there are more Mandarin songs” blah and etc.

And so, the waiting turned out to be fruitless and – though it might sadly sound like I’m eating sour grapes now – I am truly thankful things turned out this way. Why so? Yes, even though I cursed and swore when I had to deliver 1 or 2 humongous and heavy boxes of cds down to the headquarters of Sembawang Music and Gramophone, I actually enjoyed a few points:

1.I get to know the manager of the company PERSONALLY. It’s the personal touch, and it was very encouraging to hear them spur you on. And they tell you personally, from the retailers’ point of views, what music they want to hear more from you.

2.I do not have to give a cut to the distributor. It is anything from 20-30% of the retail price, so imagine if you are selling your album at the retail price of $18.90, the retailer will take 30-35%; assuming at 30% it’ll be $5.67. If there is a distributor, it will be another say 20% off (just a conservative estimation), which comes up to be $3.78. So after giving these 2 portion away, your cut is only $9.45 per cd. You do the maths. For 1 or 2 trips, or 3 trips of taxi fare, it’s much worthwhile to not have a distributor do the carrying of cds down for you, because you do not have to go down shop by shop, but only to the headquarter of each compay.

3.It’s a DIY album, so DIY and get the experience!

Next I will share my take on “Is there a need to have a manager?

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